Today we start a series of 10 posts about cycling with car traffic. These are things we have learned from years of riding in downtown Toronto. Some of these tips you may have seen before in other places, and some will be new.
This is not meant to be a complete list… there are more secrets out there… but here are 10 that you’ll find very useful.
NOTE: These are geared towards downtown cycling, since that’s what I’m most familiar with. These all assume that you already know about proper lighting and safety (ie. helmets are useful, stopping at red lights is advised, etc.) precautions, and know that riding on sidewalks is one of the most unsafe things you can do, for both pedestrians and yourself.
We start today with #1:
1. Drivers Don’t Want to Kill You
It’s hard to believe sometimes, because sometimes drivers pass bikes a bit too closely and scare us, but it’s true.
They may not be your biggest fan, and they may think you are in their way, that you are too slow, that you don’t belong on the road, and they may be a bit jealous of your tight cycling butt, but most of them are not homicidal.
They may seem scary because they are seeing things from a drivers’ perspective, and often have not given much thought to how vulnerable cyclists are. The vast majority of drivers don’t want to kill you… they just don’t understand you. As well, the very LAST thing 99.99% of drivers want to do is hurt someone.
A lot of drivers are also cyclists (and vice-versa) and don’t want to be in a collision with you.
I bet any cyclist you know with a drivers license can tell you that knowing things from a cyclists’ perspective has made them a much better driver.
Knowing this one thing will give you a lot of confidence.
Check out the full “10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic” series:
- Drivers Don’t Want to Kill You
- Ride in a Straight Line
- Play by the Rules
- Avoid the “Stoplight Squeeze”
- Signal Sensibly
- Take That Lane
- Make Them THINK You’re Unpredictable
- Ride With Others
- Avoid the Right Hook
- Practice Your Route